Tuesday 25 July 2023

Divination: Phyllis Wheatley, 8 Pentacles from Our Tarot

I treated myself to a new tarot boxed set - Our Tarot: A Guidebook and Deck Featuring Notable Women in History. It's rather unusual because the cards all depict real historical women rather than goddesses or figures from mythology, and the book that comes with the set includes a lot of information about them and their importance in the world. 

Using the deck, I drew a card as a reading for the world, although to be honest I felt it had a message for me too. The card was Phyllis Wheatley, who represents the Eight of Pentacles. It tarot, the Eight of Pentacles is about hard work and mastery of a craft. Phyllis Wheatley certainly did all of those things. She was an amazing woman who had an extremely hard life yet excelled as a writer of poetry. 

Born in West Africa, Phyllis was sold into slavery as a child and bought by the Wheatley family of Massachusetts. Despite being slave owners, the Wheatleys were relatively progressive because they taught Phyllis not only to read and write, but also let her study the classics. She started writing poetry at the age of 14. The Wheatleys took her to England and helped her find a patron to publish her first book: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. They then emancipated her. However, her life was short as she died of an illness at the age of 31. 

The guidebook suggests that the Eight of Pentacles "calls you to look for the moments in your daily life to practice your chosen discipline. Don't wait for a better day or an easier time." 

I feel this is a very apt message for myself. I have a lot of creative projects on the go. As well as writing my daily blog posts I'm editing the very rough first draft of my second novel, I have several workshops to plan, and I'm crafting things I want to complete. I know I'm far more privileged than Phyllis ever was, and sometimes I just need to force myself to get on with the things I want to do. I hope this card also works as a general reading for others, reminding us that time is precious and sometimes we need to make a bit more space to get creative projects finished.

Our Tarot is by Sarah Shipman and is published by Harper Design.

You can view the deck on Amazon. (Note: I earn commission from advertisers for some links. This helps support my blog at no extra cost to those who read my posts.)

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